February 12, 2009

Love in a recession, shoppers scale back

Can't buy me love may be the theme for this Valentine's Day with a U.S. recession plaguing shoppers, sentimental and otherwise.

A survey sponsored by the National Retail Federation indicated Valentine's Day spending would decline 15.6 percent this year, USA Today reported Thursday.

The average consumer planed to spend $102.50 on the holiday this year, about $20 less than a year ago, the newspaper said.

BIGresearch said consumers would spend $14.7 billion on Valentine's Day gifts, including the traditional romantic diners, boxes of chocolates and flowers.

The bulk of the spending will be gifts for partners, significant others and spouses, with diminishing amounts spent on children, friends, classmates and teachers.

Even pets profit on Valentine's Day with the average shopper shelling out $2.17 for their furry loved ones, the survey said.

But, one shopping analyst said the impact of skimping could hit close to home.

You can disappoint Aunt Maple over the holidays by not giving her a gift, but if you disappoint your significant other on Valentine's Day, you're going to be hearing about it every day for a long time, said Loch Rose, vice president of analytics at ShopLocal.com.